Days Gone By - stories from the past

SUNDAY SOLILOQUY: Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned….

The Best Laid Schemes


Paul Hancock

I had my life all planned. I had just finished high school and was enrolled at Miss. College, majoring in Mathematics and was going to be a high school math teacher. The College was on a term system at that time in order to accommodate GI’s returning from the war. It was the fall of 1946. English 101, College Algebra, and one other course made up my full nine-hour load that first term. I didn’t open a book and made B’s.

Trig took me

Next term I took Trigonometry. Maybe it would be more correct to say “trig took me.” I studied the book till I had headaches, but neither the book nor the teacher’s lectures made any sense to me. The teacher GAVE me a C. I didn’t deserve it, for I certainly had not acquired an “average” understanding of trig, but I had learned that I couldn’t be a math teacher! So I dropped out of school, and started to work for Miss. Power & Light Company. Beginning salary was $98.00 PER MONTH! Within days after beginning the job, employees received an across-the-board raise which elevated my pay to $106.00 a month. Boy I was making the big bucks!

I got a room at a rooming house, took meals in a boarding house two blocks away, and walked ten blocks to work every weekday. On Sunday I walked to Southside Baptist Church. All those places were within the radius of a mile. I worked for Power & Light something over a year. After a few months, promotion to a new job raised my income to $125.00 per month. That’s what I was making when I resigned Power and Light to go to school and become a minister.

I attended singing schools

I had moved my church membership to Southside from my home Church in North Mississippi, but truth be known, I was not a really Christian. Back home I had enjoyed singing country gospel music–you know, singing convention music—“quartet music.” During the summer months, after the crops were laid by, a number of my friends and I would attend singing schools held for one or two weeks at the Macedonia Baptist Church. Then, when we could catch a ride, we would go to the Singing Conventions held in various churches around Union and adjacent counties.

A neighbor friend and I (His name was Quinton Messer.) learned to sing “My Mother’s Prayers Have Rescued Me” as a duet. Whenever both of us were in attendance at a Singin’, they would ask us to sing our duet.. So we attended quite a few North Mississippi Singing Conventions.

I joined the church at Macedonia

Southside Jackson had a good choir and I also enjoyed the group of young there. One Sunday, however, one of the girls in the youth group went down to the front of the church stating that when she joined the church before she had not really understood what it meant to become a Christian. Now she declared she truly wanted to give her heart to Jesus. Years earlier I had joined the local church because I really liked the pastor. He had tendered his resignation and I wanted him to baptize me; so I joined the church at Macedonia.

That was about the extent of my religious experience until that day at Southside, Jackson. I knew I was not going to be happy as a Christian until I did what the girl in our youth group had done. Sometime during the few weeks after my friend’s move to accept Jesus, I did the same thing.

Life is full of adjustments

A few months later, I think it was in February 1948, I was doing some volunteer work at the church office at Southside. I think I was folding bulletins for the next day’s service. The pastor was back in his Study. I thought he was working on his Sunday sermons. He called out to me from his Study and asked, “Paul, what are you going to do?” Even though his question came right out of the blue, I knew what he meant; however, I pretended not to know, and asked him, “Do about what?” He answered, “Are you going to accept the call to be a vocational Christian minister?”

He had not previously mentioned it to me, but he had perceived that I was struggling with that decision. How was I going to get the necessary education? Just what phase of the ministry was I to supposed to do? He helped me find answers to those and many other questions as I began to prepare for and carry out the ministry to which I was called.

We make our plans, but sometimes those plans don’t pan out. Life is full of adjustments.

RIBBON OF LOVE: 2nd edition – A Novel of Colonial America  – the true story of religion in America –

Inspired by true historical events, Mary and Henry Pattenden flee to America to escape persecution –  It is almost impossible to put the book down until completion. – Dr. Don P. Brandon, Retired Professor, Anderson University 



RIBBON OF LOVE: 2nd edition – A Novel of Colonial America (Tapestry of Love Book 1): Book 1 in Tapestry of Love Series (Kindle Edition)

New 2nd edition – edited and revised in 2015

Inspired by actual people and historical events! Based on the Cottingham ancestors of Bibb County, Alabama.

Coming from diverse cultural backgrounds and separated from the mainland by the Chesapeake Bay, the real world of the settlers of “The Kingdom of Accawmacke” is revealed and secrets about America’s history are discovered in this well-researched novel. Actual court records dating back to the early 1630’s create historical accuracy as the reader is taken back to the primitive days of colonial America where the Pattendens encounter life-changing difficulties with Indians, ducking stools, illness, massacres, death, loneliness, love, and greed.

“We’re all going to die!” echoed from below deck amid the frenzied screams and cries from terrified women and children between decks. Sounds of chaos below deck filled the air as the hands scrambled to free the foremast before it broke through the ship. “Quickly, men” We need to free that fore-mast now!” bellowed Captain Potts. “But, by God be careful, we don’t want to lose another man!”

The Pattenden’s inspiring story begins in 17th century England during the reign of Charles I and continues with their journey to the eastern shore of Virginia where they experience joy, tragedy and loss. Based on actual court records and historical events, RIBBON OF LOVE is a work of fiction that provides the reader with a glimpse of life in 17th century England and Virginia.



Ribbon of Love was a wonderful love story of Henry and Mary living and struggling to succeed as one of the first families in the colony of Virginia in the 1600s. In addition to the love story, the descriptions of the clothing, home furnishings, personalities, family life, church and community are most intriguing. The exhilarating action and subplots keep the reader in constant anticipation. It is almost impossible to put the book down until completion. – Dr. Don P. Brandon, Retired Professor, Anderson University 

By (author):  Donna R Causey

List Price:Price Not Listed
Kindle Edition:Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only
buy now

About Paul Hancock

Paul Hancock was born in 1929 and raised on a red-hill farm between New Albany and Oxford Mississippi. Graduate of Macedonia High School, Mississippi. College, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and George Peabody College for Teachers. He married Jane Yarborough of Tylertown, Mississippi. They have two sons and two granddaughters Paul served Southern Baptist Churches either part time or full time as Minister of Music and lived in Birmingham since October 1994. He is an active member of Shades Mountain Baptist Church of Birmingham, teaching two senior adult Sunday school classes, member of the Celebration Choir, Jubilee Singers, and Jubilee Men’s Quartet. His hobbies include Reading, Singing and Fellow-shipping with Christian friends.

Liked it? Take a second to support Alabama Pioneers on Patreon!


  1. We sometimes have a choice: self-led or Spirit-Led ?
    * MATTHEW 6:33

  2. Cynthia Stack Harmon

    30 years after Paul was at Mississippi College, I enrolled and later graduated. My daughter is also a graduate. Love that school!

  3. John Bryan

    A great story about a religious journey. Well stated. I will say that story can most likely be applied to everyone on a daily basis with our journey through life. For me I have had to make more adjustments to count. But if you make the adjustments you can be successful in life.

  4. So true. I think of my “plans” when I entered college and compare them to how life turned out … and I chuckle. But God knows best. I’m working in a job I truly love, and I never thought I’d be doing it.

Leave a Reply to Marlon Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.